Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What if They Fly?

Half way there I stopped dead in my tracks, "Maybe this isn't a good idea."
"We don't have to do it." Husband answered swiftly because he, too, was unsure about the decision we were making.
"I just feel like maybe we're rushing this."
"We could still turn around." 
I'm writing about this in real-time, as in, this just happened real-time so the wound is fresh. I'm still sobbing over our decision. As a very normal person, you'd think I was crazy. But I'm not a normal person. I've always bordered on the side of crazy and have pretty much eclipsed the moon of emotion and 3 years ago, almost to the day, I took a giant leap further into both abysses. That was the day I became a parent and would forever live in crazy and emotional.

Today was the first day I dropped that child off at school.
I didn't handle it well.

Don't let the smiles fool you; it was a hard day for both of us.
Husband and I have wavered with this decision since last year. We wanted (and still want) to take advantage of living in a Spanish speaking country and enroll her in a Spanish speaking school. I feel confident in saying she is bilingual; although at the moment she prefers Spanish, but I know a time will come when English takes the lead so I want to immerse her in my family's native language before that time comes.

I've continued to waver and stood on the fence of this decision up until the last moment:
Waking her up this morning I thought Maybe her not waking up on her own is a sign that we shouldn't bring her today. Walking to school I said, "Maybe we should just leave her home with Shelly (her nanny) and her brother." At school I asked the Director, "What if I decide that I don't want to continue with her at school." Still at school looking at Husband I asked his opinion, "What do you think? Maybe I should take her home." (I secretly hoped he'd scoop her up and carry her home; saving her from big, bad school, but really, saving me.)

I trust my motherly instincts now... most of the time. Most of the time they're good. But today, I felt like they were betraying me. Today, I think, my motherly instincts were about me, about my running
Though she be but little, she is fierce!
ahead into the future: when my child is a teenager and will want to be left alone, when my child is in college and can stand on her own two feet, when my child is a grown up and is no longer dependent on me. Today my motherly instincts were trying to mother me. To protect me. To help me understand how something so little can grow so fast. How it could be possible that she is already going to school?

My daughter is strong and resilient and brave and smart. I have no doubt that once she feels more confident in her surroundings she will run the place. She's that kind of kid. But she is also sensitive and kind and well-mannered and nervous in new situations so I expected her to act exactly as she did today. She was nervous and wailed when they took her inside. And there was no dam strong enough to hold back my tears either. I anticipated her reaction so thoroughly that I wasn't, at all, aware of mine. I should have been. I should have known my emotions were tied tightly to hers. But I didn't. I was blind-sided. If I'm honest, the only thing that kept me from a total breakdown is that I'm an adult and have learned to control my tears. That, and I put on my sunglasses so no one could see me sobbing relentlessly.

I try not to hover or helicopter. I try to let her find her own place and her own comfort in her own skin without me because I truly believe that kids need to fly on their own, even young little birdlings. But damn that was hard today. It was like I crawled inside her little body and felt all of the same things she was feeling and I wanted to make it so that she didn't feel any of those strange emotions that come with trying something new. I wanted her to stay safely in the nest I had created for her. I wanted to soar her away under my own wings.  I wanted her not to fly.

And as I'm writing those words in real-time, I'm having an epiphany right now, a Universe moment. I remember a poem that was put in my path recently, probably because the Universe knew I'd be in need of it today because the Universe often works like that in my life. I think about these four words that I've been holding onto for weeks; four words that are part of a poem but that even alone mean everything:

What if you fly?

"There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?"
Erin Hanson

Oh, the power in those words, the potential.

This decision had opened up so many scary possibilities I had to face for my child as a parent. What if they're mean to her? What if she cries? What if she hates it? What if she's too young? What if it scares her? What if she thinks I've left her? What if... what if...

All of these what ifs just being versions of the same question: what if she falls? 

Taken over by the fear of her falling, I never considered the other possibility:

What if she flies?

And isn't that what I want to ultimately teach my children? Isn't that why instead of living a predictable life at home we've decided to live abroad? Or why instead of taking a teaching job, I've decided to pursue my writing. Isn't that why when she asks me if I have to go to work (a job that doesn't pay me... yet) I tell her I do. Because Mami is visualizing a life for herself that requires a leap, that requires me to try to fly? And that I can't think about the possibility of falling because flying is too important. Don't I want them to know that the fear of falling is scary but the possibility of flying is everything?

I sit here, not looking forward to Thursday knowing that Thursday I'll have to take her back to school and watch her struggle a little again. There will surely be another fall before there is flight but if I want her to know that flying is always worth the risk, then I have to let her fly.

I have to help her fly.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Road to an Imperfect Life: Week 14 - For Whom the Belly Tolls #itsarevolutionbitches

Like all mothers, I dreamed of being brave, selfless, loving, and hot. Yes, you heard me. Hot. What?! I'm just being honest. Of course, hot wasn't the first thing on my list, but it was definitely on the short list.

Pinterest was super helpful for me in the beginning with its suggestions of cute outfits, life hacks, and exercise ideas, but unfortunately, Pinterest won't actually deliver any of these things to my life or closet. It'll recommend some interesting workouts or belly busting moves but won't actually do the working out for me so... damn it.

I've never found the pleasure in working out that others have. I don't want to do sit ups. I don't want to sweat. Actually, I hate sweating which is really a problem when exercising in island weather. And I really hate running. I don't even pretend to understand running. Why would you run, non-stop without a reason... like a bear chasing you? Running is terrible. I know it isn't terrible in that good-for-your-health way but it actually makes me physically angry. In fact, running to me is as enjoyable as being wedged in the back seat between two car seats of kids "doing my hair" (aka pulling). And I'd choose the wedgie every time.

See, if you haven't caught on, I don't actually want to exercise to be a hot mom, I just want to be a hot mom.

Luckily, the nature of two young kids (aka the bandits that turned my body into the rollier version of what it used to be) is that they are decently helpful in keeping parts of it less rolly. Since they still need want to be carried, my arms don't need much other heavy lifting. Whew... dodged that flabby arm bullet. And with a 3rd floor walk up (no choice - there is no elevator) my legs and gluteus area are also fine. But regrettably, my major problem zone has never been my arms or my legs. The problem zone is my belly; the place I store my wine and waffles, the belly that, after having two bandits, stretched like green slime on a hot day never to return to its original form. For that belly, there is no easy remedy.

I refuse to become someone who denies herself what she wants to eat. I will never be a girl who orders salad when what I really want is a burger. Wine will never be off the table for me. In fact, it will always be on the table, uncorked. So since I don't plan on curbing my food or booze intake, I fear that as much as I have tried to tone up my mid-area with hopeful wishes and encouraging glasses of Merlot, I might have to actually do some work.

I start Pilates today. God help me. God help us all.

Monday, September 22, 2014

What's On Tap this Month - September

Ok, so anchors isn't necessarily a new thing I'm loving. I've been into the nautical theme for years (hence all of my striped clothes) but we just recently added these bad boys to our apartment. Inspired by A Beautiful Mess (which I've included before on a monthly tap), I bought a stencil/stamper in the shape of an anchor and then had poor Husband do the rest. Stamp, stamp, stamp away. I looove how it turned out.

My friend had this book on his counter when Husband and I went over for dinner one night. Husband and Friend left to pick up wine and his wife also had to leave on a quick errand run. I assured them that I was fine to stay by myself. So I did and I picked up this book. Within 4 pages I was dreading their arrival. A book with the premise what if the devil were a real person, it kept me wanting more. The longer they stayed away, the more I'd get to read. The next day, I picked up my own copy.

Jersey Wines
The last day of August, at my mecca, the New Jersey Wine Festival at Allaire State Park, I sampled lots and lots (and lots) of wines. While I typically drink Sauvignon Blanc or other whites, here at the festival, my tastebuds have a reigning heavyweight champion. For the last few years,
 Holiday Seasoned Red Wine by Four Sisters Winery has been my clear cut winner. If you imagined Christmas had a taste, it would be corked up in this bottle. While it still ranks up there (along with their newer version of the Christmas wine, Beaver Creek. Yum!), this year, I found the Autumn equivalent at Wagonhouse Winery. I sampled Three Boys Brand's Autumn Goddess and was sold. No, literally, I bought the bottle of wine on the spot. Fermented with apple, instead of grapes this fall-tasting wine reminds you of the season even when you're living on an island! So since I can't be home for Fall, I brought Fall home with me. Screw. Pop. Cheersies!

What if you fly Tattoo
I am not a tattoo person but I gotta tell you if ever I got one it would say that. That line comes from a young, Aussie poet named Erin Hanson who I discovered through a very funny blog. Whitney, the author of I Wore Yoga Pants to Work, recently got these words tattooed on her back and those four words made my ears perk up, my heart flutter, and the hairs on my arms stand up. Don't worry, mom, I'm not getting a tattoo, but if ever I did... 
"There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?"
Erin Hanson

80's Covers & Grey's Anatomy
In honor of the season premiere this Thursday, I wanted to highlight Grey's. I've watched every one of its 11 seasons and have downloaded a bazillion of the songs I've heard on the show. Their musical choice always hits me right here (insert fist chest bump to the heart) and while they could do no wrong in my book, last season (season 10) they did something the most right in my book, like the rightest right possible. Think 80's music. Turns out that creator, Shonda Rhimes, is also a huge 80s music fan and suggested (then handpicked) only 80's music covers for the whole second half of season 10's soundtrack. Don't get caught up in how fun the originals were and how the cover songs sound totally different. Focus on how great these songs were in their 80's hey day that now people are remaking them. Check out some of these 80's covers on YouTube:

Don't You Forget About Me (Originally by Simple Minds, Covered by The Wind + The Wave)
We Built this City - (Originally byStarship, Covered by Aron Wright and Jill Andrews)
I'm So Excited (Originally by The Pointer Sisters, Covered by Le Tigre)

and apparently everything by Sleeping at Last...
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic (Originally by The Police)
Private Eyes (Originally by Hall and Oates)
All Through the Night (Originally by Cyndi Lauper)
99 Red Luftballoons (not on Grey's but watch it on SYTYCD - Originally by Cyndi Lauper)

Ummm... speechless, right? 
Who's ready for another 80's party?!?!?!?!?!?!?!